Urgent, Complex Problems. Collectively

Doug was not interested in small problems or in ease of use. Doug wanted to build high-performance jets to cruise through cyberspace. We need to really step back and look at the components of his vision if we are to in any way contribute to evolving it.

Urgent, Complex Problems

He elaborates in his 92 paper*:

Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following:
•  more-rapid comprehension,
•  better comprehension,
•  the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex,
•  speedier solutions, better solutions, and
•  the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble.

This means that we must aim to build system to help us better understand what is going on, and it’s immediately clear that such understanding will be different in different domains, so we must decide what domains to support and investigate how.

Doug’s other main criteria is that we need to solve problems collectively, it’s not enough for one person to work on these urgent, complex problems.

What do we have to work with? Doug had a beautiful illustration* of a column of Tool Systems on one side and Human Systems on the other, coming together in a Capability Infrastructure. These were always connected, in myriads of ways, each piece of the system being influenced by, and influencing other pieces.

Underneath these two columns, underpinning them, was a row for Skills & Knowledge and Training, which was further underpinned by the Basic Human Capabilities (Perceptual, Mental & Motor).

There isn’t much space for a lone individual in this illustration – every person is connected, every tangible tool and every mental construct. This is the space he innovated in and this is our ecosystem as well.

The original .author document is at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ruh59gybxi9rd5/Urgent%2C%20Complex%20Problems%20%2B%20Collectively.author?dl=0 

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